Saturday, May 30, 2015


So this week was full of travel and travel preparations.  Our mission has begun its next cycle of zone conferences. This is when the mission president goes and has a meeting with all the missionaries in their respective cities or close to them.  This time there will be four zone conferences spaced around during the month. The first one was yesterday so I got to return to Rio Preto where I spent quite a lot of time in the beginning of my mission.  I never actually served there but I served in cities that were in the same stake, so I was always there for meetings and stuff.  I have worked in almost all the wards in the city at least for one day and a majority of the cities that are in the stake.  I have slept in all of the missionary houses that have elders and one that now has sisters (because it used to have elders).  I guess maybe it seems like I am bragging but I am just saying that it was nice to go back.  
I announced all the stuff that I needed to tell the missionaries before the mission president talked and then I helped organize the stuff for lunch.  I actually got to change a bit of stuff for the better in the mission and announce the stuff that I had always wanted to change.  The things I changed were all clerical but it was still cool.  It is nice to actually make a difference.  
We also traveled today to a little town because my companion had to do an interview there.  It was rather picturesque but was not easy to get to by bus so we ended up travelling almost the whole day and lost our p-day but the interview was done and we got to see the sights a bit.  It reminded me of the times when I have worked in really small cities.  So it was nostalgia week.  
I hope you all have a good week.  I love you all!

Elder Russell 

Saturday, May 23, 2015


So I think I forgot to say that even though I am still working in the mission office I got moved to another area to work at night.  This one has a favela.  We don't actually work there though.  There is plenty of area that is a little better suited to the night work we do. 
Today for P-day we went to the Shopping Iguatemi.  For those of you who don't know, Iguatemi is a string of malls in Brasil that is absurdly luxurious.  We really just went to see what it was like, but it is situated in the rich part of Ribeirão Preto.  Ribeirão Preto is the city with the most rich people and the most poor people that I have seen in Brazil (which is, granted, a very limited array).  The difference between the rich and the poor here is really quite shocking.  It makes the protests on wall street and all the talk about the one percent just look stupid.  Many families here live on six or seven hundred reals a month (that ss about $200-250).  Obviously the poverty isn't comparable with some other places, I mean this isn't Tanzania but the standard of living for these people is a lot different than what people call poor in the US.  Actually it just makes those in the US seem like whiners.
In other news I would like to talk about prayer.  I feel it works like this: God tests you; He tests you until you can't go any further, until you have to know, understand why or what or when or some other question.  Then you have two options, give up or ask.  And if you ask. he answers because at that point you are ready to hear and follow.  That is why many people never receive an answer about the Book of Mormon or what we teach. It is because they aren't ready to hear and obey.  Most people, even those who pray, don't ask for guidance.  They give thanks and ask for stuff but not guidance.  And even fewer are ready to follow what God says and aren't just asking hypocritically.  That is what we have to do.  We have to ask being willing to obey.  And He answers.  It is really awesome too, because then all that stress and anger and curiosity and lack of understanding just disappears into tranquility.  I hope we can all feel that someday or another.
I love you all!

Elder Russell

Saturday, May 16, 2015

In Short

            So it is transfers on Monday which means I have to do a bunch of stuff.  We have to help the people who are leaving get out of here.  In a couple of days, we will help the people who are coming here.  It feels like I just did all this.  In the end, it really was only five weeks ago because this transfer was short but the transfer also passed really fast.  It seems like time passes faster in the mission office.  Well, at least it did when I first got here.  Now, it went back to normal I think.  It is going to be a lot of stuff in the end to get that all ready and I don't have a lot of time to write because of that. 
 I am doing well if you all want to know.  I love you all!  Have a great week!
Elder Russell

Saturday, May 9, 2015


So I just ate a bunch of sushi.  I never really like sushi at home and it stayed the same in Brazil, but there are a lot of people who like it here.  There are actually a lot of Japanese here in Brazil. 
 Other than that, I also went to the zoo today. There were lots of animals that they just have here in South America that are not common in North American zoos.  There were about four types of alligators that were always in the same exhibits with the turtles (I guess they don't eat them), and lots of monkeys and parrots (who speak Portuguese here (surprise)), and lots of big rodents like anteaters which are lots bigger than I thought they were.  I don't actually know if anteaters are rodents but I think they are.  
There have been a lot of emergency transfers recently as well.  It keeps things exciting here in the office because there are a bunch of people here. For those of you who don't know, an emergency transfer is when someone changes area in the middle of a standard transfer which is when everyone changes.  Its funny how in the mission we almost have our own way of reckoning time all around transfers.  It is kind of fun when you think about it all.  
Overall I am well.  I love you all and will post some pictures from the zoo but only of the cool animals.

Elder Russell

Saturday, May 2, 2015


Next Tuesday I have to give announcements for all the Zone leaders in the mission.  When I say announcements, that basically means I have to tell them about all the stuff they are doing wrong in regards to the clerical side.  It will be a bit weird.  For those of you who are not familiar with mission hierarchy, a zone leader is a missionary who is responsible for 15-30 missionaries.  There are 20 of them in my mission.  Throughout my whole mission I have been listening to zone leaders give me instructions.  Now I have to tell them what to do.  It is a bit weird to have sort of skipped that whole level of hierarchy.  It is a bit strange how the mission works.  
There is a whole part of the mission which is how missionaries interact with one another. They want to gain status one with another, leadership positions and advance in the mission.  It is pretty sad that a lot of them begin to worry more about their numbers and their status in the mission than that real reason they should be out here.  
This week in the escritòrio (office) I am doing a lot of stuff.  At night we are teaching.  It is a bit strange.  I know I did stuff this week, but I feel like time passes really fast.  I feel a bit like I am in the beginning of the mission again and I have lots of time to learn and grow and this will all never end.  But the reality is that it is ever coming closer and closer to ending.  
             I love you all and hope you have a good week!
Elder Russell